Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

February is the month for love—and there’s plenty of love to go around at fantastic events throughout the month.

The McCallum Theatre has numerous events you’ll love in February. At 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 19, classical organist Cameron Carpenter and his electric International Touring Organ will take the stage. I interviewed Cameron two years ago, and not only is he a brilliant organist (with a rather unorthodox appearance compared to many other organists, starting with a Mohawk); the story of his electric organ is pretty remarkable. Tickets are $27 to $77. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 23, Broadway singing sensation Linda Eder will be performing. If Eder’s name doesn’t ring a bell, check out her impressive performances from the Broadway musical Jekyll and Hyde on the interwebs. Tickets are $37 to $87. At 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, you’ll get to see one of the talented women shown in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom: Lisa Fischer. She has toured with Nine Inch Nails, Chris Botti, The Rolling Stones and many others. Tickets are $37 to $77. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787;

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a busy February; here are just a few events from the awesome schedule. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3, R&B and hip-hop star Nelly will perform. Nelly has accomplished a lot in his career, with diamond and multi-platinum albums, big awards, successful acting gigs and a stint as a judge on CW’s The Next. Tickets are $39 to $79. Continuing on with R&B in the month of love, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, Charlie Wilson will perform. He’s had 10 No. 1 singles, and 11 Grammy Award nominations … without a win. Consider surprising your sweetheart with this show as an early Valentine’s Day gift. Tickets are $39 to $59. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 24, crooner Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will appear. Just a warning: Frankie Valli shows often sell out! Tickets are $29 to $59. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has some fun shows on the calendar. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 16, soft-rock duo Air Supply will be performing. It’s close to Valentine’s Day, so you could take your sweetheart to the show if you love him or her … or maybe if you don’t. Tickets are $40 to $60. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17, comedian Sebastian Maniscalco will be performing. Maniscalco has a lot of funny jokes about his family life, as well as every-day idiots you encounter in life; one of his more amusing bits is about how he had to start shaving at a very early age. Tickets are $65 to $95. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995;

Spotlight 29 is set for a fantastic February. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, the folk-rock duo America will be performing. Chances are you’ve heard “A Horse With No Name” in a film, television show, commercial or video game. America is highly influential to many artists, while Fountains of Wayne; James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins and A Perfect Circle; and Ryan Adams (just to name a few) have recorded with America. Tickets are $25 to $45. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 24, former Chicago vocalist Peter Cetera will sing. A great documentary called Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago recently appeared on Netflix. Not surprisingly, Peter Cetera’s contentious departure from the band is widely discussed, although he did not participate in the making of the film. Tickets are $45 to $65. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566;

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is rocking in February. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 15, country-rock band Mick Rhodes and the Hard Eight (below) will be performing. Back in November, I hosted Mick Rhodes and the Hard Eight at The Hood Bar and Pizza—and it was fantastic. Mick has a great repertoire of country-rock originals that are fun, funny and sometimes sad. The band has a new record coming, and you’ll want to see this show. Admission is free. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 16, Los Angeles rock band Valley Queen will take the stage. This is a band on the rise. NPR and the rock zine Stereogum have given this band a lot of props for an original sound with influences such as Fleetwood Mac, Patti Smith and others. Admission is free. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb., 22, Southern California country-rock band Calico the Band will be performing. When I think of Pappy’s, I think of Calico the Band: The group’s sound is perfect for the high-desert roadhouse scene. Admission is free. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956;

The Date Shed is back! After going dark last summer and mostly through the season, the venue is again holding events, even if the venue’s website doesn’t show any. At 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 9, it’ll be a night of local rap music when J. Patron (above right), Thr3 Strykes, Provoked and Thoughts Contained will be performing. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through Eventbrite. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699;

The Purple Room Palm Springs has some top-notch entertainment in February that’s perfect for a romantic date night out. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 9, Crissy Collins, known for her roles in Tyler Perry’s films, will be appearing. She’ll be performing an evening full of love songs! Tickets are $30 to $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, dance-music star Debby Holiday will sing. Who can ever forget her 2004 smash hit “Half a Mile Away”? Tickets are $25 to $30. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422;

The Copa Room has a couple of notable events in February. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 9, comedy-and-music duo Amy and Freddy will be performing. The Copa regulars have appeared on America’s Got Talent and have shared the stage with Kathy Griffin, Mary Wilson and the Supremes, Bea Arthur and many others. Tickets are $25 to $45. At 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16 and 17, jazz vocalist Spencer Day will be performing. You might remember Spencer Day from Star Search back in 2002-2003. Since then, he’s released five albums; his most recent, Angel City, was crowd-funded through Indiegogo. Tickets are $35 to $55. Copa Palm Springs, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021;

Published in Previews

The Broadway production of Jekyll and Hyde helped launch the career of Linda Eder—a career that has taken her to venues such as Carnegie Hall and includes 15 solo albums.

Eder will be appearing at the McCallum Theatre on Wednesday, March 25.

Born in Tucson, Ariz., Eder was raised in Central Minnesota. As a child, she discovered Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Eileen Farrell as inspirations. She began singing in clubs in the late ‘80s and found herself competing on Star Search in 1988—where she won 12 weeks in a row.

“I started singing professionally right out of high school, so I had been singing for about six years when I did Star Search,” she said during a recent phone interview. For me, it was excellent, because I never lost, and I went undefeated. I was very lucky, and it felt as if it was meant to be. It’s hard to explain, but my goal originally was just to win one show, and it just kept rolling along and rolling along. It just felt like that was the course I was meant to be on.”

Eder said the pressure on Star Search was at times overwhelming.

“There’s a lot of pressure, and what’s really unnatural about it is it’s hard enough to perform in front of an audience, and when you know you have four judges out there … with the idea of putting you through or eliminating you, it just magnifies that so many times over. It’s quite a horrible experience, in many ways. … I watched so many people lose.”

Eder said she would not want to be a performer on American Idol or The Voice.

“That would be really hard. When I was on Star Search, they could only judge you with one through four stars, and they wouldn’t talk to you or criticize you, or anything like that. Nowadays, with having to draw a fan base and deal with judges like Simon Cowell, that has to be horrible.”

Thanks in part to Star Search, Eder caught the attention of Frank Wildhorn, the playwright of Svengali and later Jekyll and Hyde. Eder appeared in both, and she signed her first record deal with BMG Records.

“Frank … was starting work on Jekyll and Hyde. He asked me if I was interested in doing theater, and that’s how that whole thing got going,” she said. “Again, it felt like a natural progression. I loved theater, and that was like stepping into it without going through the ranks, going to auditions—fighting to get your chance and your Equity card. That was all handed to me on a platter and was written for me. That was a fairy-tale way of being introduced to Broadway.”

Eder shined in the role of Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde.

“How could I not enjoy being in the role? They created it for me when I came on board; the songs were written for me, and the role was very much tailored around me,” she said. “It was a wonderful experience. … I started singing right out of high school. We did this year long pre-Broadway tour, and I believe those are my college years, because I was part of a group of people my age, and we were traveling around the country, playing a week in each city. It was a wonderful and fun time in my life.”

Eder released her first album in 1991.

“It’s very ’70s pop,” Eder said with a laugh. “This whole career for me was just a pipe dream for me. I never thought I’d be singing professionally in a million years and that I would get the nerve to do it. For me to even have a career is pretty amazing to me. I didn’t think in those terms, and I always thought, ‘What’s the next big mountain to climb?’ or, ‘What’s the next small mountain to climb?’ … I guess I wasn’t really looking at it in that bigger sense.”

Eder said there’s one song in life that she’s very passionate about, which she always includes in her concerts: Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

“I do that song at the end of every show, and that’s my encore,” she said. “I do sort of a sad version of it, but that’s just a classic song. That one gets me every time.”

Outside of music, Eder hosted a special on Animal Planet called Trail Mix that featured her talking to various musicians who were horse-lovers, including Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sheryl Crow, LeAnn Rimes and others.

“I’ve always been a horse-lover, and I’ve had horses all of my life. Years back, I met a woman who was running Animal Planet, and she wanted more horse programming on there, and she was a fan of mine,” Eder said. “We became friends she said, ‘… Why don’t you come up with an idea?’ I thought about it more and more, and I came up with the idea of interviewing people who are singers who are horse-lovers. … You get their story, and they’re talking about the horse, and it gives them a sense of freedom, and you see them differently.”

Today, Eder is releasing all of her albums independently.

“I’ve been part of labels for so long, and the last few records that I did, I almost wish I wasn’t with a label, because it’s just not lucrative any more, and they’re really not putting a lot of money behind promoting it. I really wasn’t that happy,” she said.

Eder said the freedom of being an independent artist has been liberating.

“I finally did it. It’s been very successful, and it’s so much fun,” she said. “I just put out one last summer that’s my first live CD, and I never did a live CD before. It’s sort of like a version of (the 1987 film) Baby Boom with Diane Keaton, where we’re doing it ourselves. I have some help from friends who work for me on my website and help me get the records out there. But I would say that three quarters of these CDs, I’m taking to the post office myself. It’s really fun, and I charge good money for them. It’s been very successful, and I’m planning to do several more.

Linda Eder will perform at 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 25, the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $35 to $85. For tickets or more information, call (760) 340-2787, or visit

Published in Previews